Anton Marchand discusses development of Rose Classic girls basketball tournament Tuesday, April 7th 2009, 4:23 PM
Looking for the top girls high school basketball players this spring? Look no further than JHS 113 on Adelphi Street in Brooklyn. The tiny junior high school is the home of the Rose Classic, touted as the top non-AAU tournament on the East Coast. The Nike-backed tournament has hosted some of the city's best, including Erica Morrow (now at Syracuse) and Anjale Barrett (Maryland).
Rose Classic founders Anton Marchand, Cleon (Silk) Hyde and Troy Lemond developed the tourney after attending Nike's legendary IS8 boys tournament with Bergtraum star Epiphanny Prince three years ago. Prince lamented that the girls had nothing similar, and Marchand, Hyde and Lemond sprung into action. With Prince's reputation backing the event, they organized a 16-team tournament at JHS 113 that spring, and word spread quickly among girls coaches. This spring's tournament features 48 teams from New York, Philadelphia, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
About 100 fans, including a few players who weren't taking the court, showed up on Saturday, the first day of the tournament, as standouts such as Christ the King's Ariel Edwards, Bergtraum's Doris Ortega (right) and St. Michael Academy's Jennifer O'Neill hit the floor. Marchand emceed the game, giving players nicknames such as "The Housekeeper" and "The Nutty Professor."
Marchand, who said there is a boys and girls Rose Classic in Belize this month, hopes the tournament continues to grow. Here, he talks about the tournament's past and gushes about the future.
"We always had a plan. Our five-year plan was to be at 30 teams. Now, we're at five years and we have 48 teams. We can't have any more. We don't have enough time in the day.
"We wanted to provide something for Epiphanny and her classmates at that time. Then we started to meet younger girls, and we said 'Let's just keep it going.' Every year, it just got bigger and bigger.
"Now when I see the girls on the high school season, they say they can't wait to play here, and (that's) great to see. . . . Our ultimate goal is to (have a tournament) here, L.A., Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.
"We want to do it within ten years, and we're going to get it done."